|Centrepiece Online | Spring 2008|
My Life as a Star
by Duff Watkins ’77
I was not born a star. Nor did I have it thrust upon me. I acquired my stardom through sheer dint of effort.
Well, actually, I paid for it. Not the star itself. Just the naming rights to it.
But the pecuniary means to my stardom does not tarnish this lustrous fact: I have a star named after me.
It all started with my dramatic graduation march across Centre’s stage in 1977. It was a hot day. A very hot day. Especially under a black sun-soaking gown. Employing the nimble thinking that often eluded even the most agile of Centre profs—and kept me barred from Mensa, Phi Beta Kappa, and numerous rooms in Breck—I hatched a cool idea. I doffed shoes and wore flip-flops to my graduation ceremony. (Well, I said it was hot, didn’t I?)
The dean stentoriously called our names, adding appropriate honors—“with distinction” for some, “with high distinction” for others—till my turn came. I noisily flip-flopped my way across the stage to snag my sheepskin when someone in the audience proclaimed aloud, “. . . no distinction there.” Seems some smug, self-satisfied, smirking parent fancied himself a wit. My girlfriend, who sat directly in front of the offender, overheard this egregious lack of respect for the newest of Centre grads. When questioned later as to why she did not whirl around to defend my honor, she replied, “Too busy laughing.”
But who’s laughing now, hmmm? That terrestrial parent or the celestial me? Who’s got the purchase on immortality, pal?
Me. That’s who.
Speaking of girlfriends, I once had another. After a brief while she felt that I was horribly miscast in the role of “significant other” and best suited to the role of, well, “other.” I explained to the poor dear that in the theater of romance, I am a star, not a spear-carrier. A star, not a sidekick, and that therefore I only do starring, not supporting, roles. She immediately directed me to audition for an audience more appreciative than herself.
Harrumph! But where is she now? Whose star has risen, eh? Who’s got the heavenly body bearing his name? That’s right, babe, me.
“What’s in a name?” asked Shakespeare. Lots, Bill, lots! Names convey power, identity, prestige. Too long have I slogged through life being asked by strangers if I’m named after the beer in The Simpsons. “No,” I now answer, “but there is a luminous body of energy derived from thermonuclear reactions that radiates outside our galaxy and is named after me. And you?”
Yet stardom is not just about status, it’s about lifestyle. You have a Global Positioning System in your car? I have a Galaxy Positioning System in my home. You invest in property? I invest in planets. The large astronomical chart on my wall giving directions to my star proves it.
Stardom, I’ve discovered, is a statement about self-worth. And having a galactic phenomenon named after me seems just so right. (Though I was disappointed to learn that my initial choice, the Sun, had already been claimed by Louis XIV.)
On that fateful graduation day in ’77, who could have foreseen my meteoric rise to such stellar heights? Who knew then that I’d leave my mark not only upon the world, like all Centre grads, but the universe as well? Having attained my rightful place in the cosmos, I am now redolent with distinction. I beam. I scintillate. I shine, twinkle, and glitter. Friends, you no longer have to wish upon a star. Instead, just ask me.
So pick a hemisphere, choose a constellation, select a star, no—be a star. You’ll be in good company (IBM, Ford, and others use them as corporate incentives). Pick one that suits you. There are 15 million from which to choose (excluding the 2,873 stars visible to the naked eye).
Sale ends soon!
Duff Watkins ’77 can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Sydney, Australia, Southern Hemisphere, Earth.